Destination Galveston Island Galveston Island Logo

by Roy Young

Attendees of the BVA 67th National Convention will have simple access to activities that are certain to invigorate, rejuvenate, and prepare them for the business meetings indoors. Some last minute updates about Galveston sights and sounds are clearly in order! Although we've covered many of them already in previous issues, we have some new ideas too, all in the spirit of enjoying this convention gathering like no other.

We also reiterate the important training sessions that may not appear as important and perhaps end up being inadvertently overlooked.

Horseback Riding


Convention attendees who love both horses and the beach will have an opportunity to experience them at the same time. They will enjoy the unlimited sensory adventure that is experienced only on horseback around its waterways.

S&G Horseback Riding is located 11 miles from our convention hotel. Guided trail rides are offered on both the beach and the company's private bay. The company can also arrange an extended trail ride at the location of the customer's choice.

Bay rides are $30 per hour per person. Beach rides are $45 per hour. A minimum of two riders are required for both rides. For more information, call 409-457-1465.

The Pleasure Pier on Galveston Seawall


The Pleasure Pier is unique for its number of rides over water. Daring souls will fly immediately above visitors who are on the ground at the pier. They will soar over the Gulf of Mexico and anticipate their next ride, which may end up being the Iron Shark Rollercoaster or the Pirate's Plunge.

The Iron Shark Rollercoaster has a 100-foot vertical lift and beyond-vertical drop. Tracking at 52 miles per hour, the vehicles glide the 1,246-foot coaster track that includes a diving loop, a greater than vertical drop, and four full inversions. Patrons must be at least 48 inches tall to board the coaster.

The Pirate's Plunge


The pirate ship is a specialty log flume that will take blinded veterans and their families through twists, turns, and two drops measuring 40 feet and 22 feet. Convention attendees staying at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort will receive a discount on Pleasure Pier ride tickets.

Each hotel provides shuttles to and from the Pleasure Pier. The arrangement is for periodic trips throughout the day and night. For additional details, visit or speak with hotel front desk staff.

Fishing Trip


Don't miss the boat!

Some of the best fishing on the Gulf of Mexico will be available to convention attendees who make reservations for August 20 with Galveston Party Boats, 409-763-5423. Please reference BVA to receive the discounted rate of $60. Payment is due upon arrival at the activity. Calling to book space does not require payment in advance.

The deep sea fishing trip will begin at 7:30 a.m. Expected catches include Grouper, Trigger Fish, Angel Fish, King Mackerel, Ling, Amberjack, and the following types of Snapper: Red, Lane, and Vermillion. Arrangements have been made for catches to be donated to the Salvation Army or treated by taxidermy services so that they can be transported home. The trip will take convention attendees 20-40 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

Leadership Training and Fiscal Responsibility


Don't forget that Dennis O'Connell of the New York Regional Group will moderate a leadership training session on Thursday afternoon. He will describe the components of successful leadership within a regional group, focus most specifically on Roberts Rules of Order, regional group newsletters, and local fundraising.

BVA Administrative Director Brigitte Jones will address the topic of regional group fiscal responsibilities.

BVA convention attendees will make their way through the Galveston Convention Center Concourse in locating meeting rooms throughout the week. Photography by Lee DeForke, Jr.
BVA convention attendees will make their way through the Galveston Convention Center Concourse in locating meeting rooms throughout the week. Photography by Lee DeForke, Jr.

Technology Session


Paul Kaminsky, former member of the BVA Board of Directors and a current member of the Florida Regional Group, will moderate a discussion on technology. Paul's focus will be on the latest applications for the iPhone 4S and the iPad. He will outline VA guidelines for the commercial products he describes.

Travel Tips From TSA


Remember TSA when you travel! TSA strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, TSA launched TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.

Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures, and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions, or other circumstances—or for their loved ones who wish to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Eastern Time, and weekends and holidays, 9 a.m.–8 p.m.

All travelers can contact TSA using "Talk to TSA," a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport customer service manager directly, or the TSA Contact Center, 866-289-9673 and, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions, and file complaints.

When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger's specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA.

TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that, when necessary, TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA customer service manager located at the airport.

Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport. The manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger's abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.

All travelers may ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if questions about screening procedures arise while at the security checkpoint.